Longietti urges small businesses to sign up for grant program updates

HERMITAGE, June 16 – With small businesses poised to receive millions in federal coronavirus funding, state Rep. Mark Longietti is advising local business owners about a simple step they can take now to be prepared once the funding becomes available.

Longietti, D-Mercer, said applications for the Statewide Small Business Assistance Program – designed to benefit small businesses with up to 25 full-time equivalent employees – are expected to be available by the end of this month, but businesses can sign up now to be alerted when that happens by visiting www.bridgewaycapital.org and completing the online contact form.

“This program will benefit our smallest mom-and-pop businesses by providing grants of up to $50,000 to cover COVID-19-related expenses,” Longietti said. “Businesses can use the funding in a variety of ways, from paying rent and utility bills they accrued while closed, to acquiring safety-related items and equipment such as Plexiglas barriers and personal protective equipment.

“Timing is critical, however. As our community business owners already know, it’s crucial to stay on top of developments and be prepared to act quickly once applications become available. I’m urging all eligible businesses to sign up now so they can be alerted as soon as that happens.”

Longietti said funding for Mercer County businesses will be administered by one of three Community Development Financial Institutions, or CDFIs: Bridgeway Capital, The Progress Fund, and The Reinvestment Fund. Businesses must apply through an eligible CDFI. There will be one, uniform application for all CDFIs.

To be eligible, a business must meet the following requirements:

  • In operation on Feb. 15 and, if required, paid income taxes to the state and federal government, as reported on individual or business tax return.
  • Adversely impacted by COVID-19 and needing the grant funding to support ongoing operations.
  • Will use the grant to cover COVID-19-related costs.
  • Has not and will not receive another grant under this state program between June 1 and Dec. 31.

Funding for the program – $225 million in all – comes from the CARES Act and includes $100 million for small businesses hurt by COVID-19, $100 million for businesses owned and operated by socially and economically disadvantaged people, and $25 million for loan deferrals and losses for lenders.

More information about the program is available here.